Seagulls defeat the champions
Weston finished their Blue Square South season by beating league champions Braintree Town 2-1.
BRAINTREE TOWN 1
WESTON completed a notable Blue Square South season by inflicting only the seventh defeat on the league champions in an entertaining game.
Before the game, the visitors were applauded on to the Woodspring Park turf by the home side with their captain Brad Quinton carrying the impressive trophy.
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Weston started with leading scorer Kane Ingram on the bench and was soon on the attack, although Braintree forced a corner in the first minute.
Nat Pepperell rounded Ryan Peters on three minutes, but unfortunately his intended low cross was weak, giving an easy save to keeper Nathan McDonald. A minute later Sahr Kabba’s speed took him past giant defender Adam Bailey-Dennis, but unfortunately his rising shot was just wide.
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As Braintree got into their stride, Kevin Gallen was just over from a long clearance following Weston’s first corner and minutes later, the visitors’ liveliest striker Cliff Akurang headed just wide.
On the stroke of half time Weston took the lead when Braintree defender Phil Starkey, under pressure from Nabi Diallo attempted to play a back pass but Kabba nipped in, rounded McDonald and easily scored into the empty net.
Early in the second half, Braintree picked up the pace, Akurang making a strong run on the left, but home keeper Lloyd Irish got down well to cut out the cross as Kenny Davis closed in, but on 53 minutes the sides were level as Gallen was allowed to burst through unchallenged and fire low into the far corner of the home net.
Braintree, wanting to finish on a high, kept up the pressure and Irish had to make a smart save to deny Akurang’s bullet header on 65 minutes from substitute Glen Poole’s cross.
Both sides exchanged several corners and Weston’s winner came on 79 minutes when, from Craig Rand’s long diagonal pass, Jamie Price, on an overlapping run on the right, skipped past Peters and planted the ball in the corner of McDonald’s net.
Two minutes later, Irish made the save of the game when he somehow got to Poole’s close-range effort to turn the ball over his crossbar.
Four minutes from time Weston were awarded a free kick just outside the visitors’ penalty area and Martin Slocombe’s curling kick was heading for the top corner of the net until Bailey-Dennis managed to divert it for a corner, but there was no denying Weston’s 15th league win of the season.
Goals: Weston, Kabba (45), Price (79), Braintree, Gallen (53).
Shots on target: Weston 3, Braintree 4.
Shots off target: Weston 3, Braintree 7.
Corners: Weston 4, Braintree 7.
Offsides: Weston 2, Braintree 2.
Free kicks conceded: Weston 6, Braintree 7.
Referee: Brett Huxtable (Torrington). Excellent game.
Bookings: Weston, Slocombe. Braintree, Gallen.
Weston squad: Irish, Price, Slocombe, Rand, Martin, Porter, Diallo (Ingram 68), Kirk, Kabba (Duharty 58), Trowbridge, Pepperell (Grubb 61). Subs (not used): J Laird, C Laird junior.